13 April 2018 19:28 น. Dallas, Featured

First experiments with “paving” Dallas streets began in 1882 when wooden blocks were used in an experiment which was thought to be a successful endeavor.  Nearby business were encouraged to have the blocks placed in front of their shop.  City officials even approved of the project as long as the business owners agreed to pay for the paving.

Paving Blocks on Grand Ave.

Paving Blocks on Grand Ave.

These first experiments at surfacing Dallas streets with wooden paving blocks failed when without any foundation being put down first, they sank into the mud and only made passage worse than dealing with the mud alone.

The new process used bois d’ arc blocks instead of bricks. Bricks were not readily available in the Dallas area at the time. The process would probably been more successful had the contractor known that the blocks should have been set aside and seasoned for about a year prior to being used.  This new process of paving Dallas streets seemed to be working well until 5.72 inches of rainfall on Nov. 7, 1918.

Dallas officials can be seen in the attached photo taking a look at blocks that just popped out after the heavy rains.  They were near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Atlanta Street.

Citizens would have to endure twelve more years of slogging through the mud on foot or by vehicle before Main Street was paved with asphalt in 1899 and Murphy Street was lined with brick.

Other related articles indicate that paving of Dallas streets was a common occurrence by 1924.  Most of the paving was by then being completed by cement mixed by hand.  It would several years later before large mixing machines were utilized.

Photo courtesy City of Dallas Engineering Department and provided by Frances. Other historical articles by can be found here: Frances James.